We won't see any Pirates being strongly considered for any of the MLB post-season awards (though some are close). So, let's give out some of our own.
Here we will put on hold all the negative that happened this season and celebrate those Pirates who were exceptional.
So, without further ado...
Pirates Rookie of the Year
This one became surprisingly close towards the end of the year. Bryan Reynolds was making a case for NL rookie of the year at points throughout the season. He was lacking the power numbers. So, he never really had a chance at winning it, but he was chasing an NL batting title.
It looked like Reynolds was far and away the best rookie Pirate until Kevin Newman came on strong towards the end of the season. Newman also put himself in the mix for the NL batting title until he cooled off and the other guys got hot. He did finish eighth. So, not too shabby.
In the end, while it was closer than I expected, Bryan Reynolds is an easy choice. His .314 batting average was tops on the team. He also finished third on the team in home runs (16), fourth in RBIs (68), and second in OPS (.880).
Winner: Bryan Reynolds
Runner Up: Kevin Newman
Pirates CY Young Award
This was a two-man race for much of the season. Joe Musgrove was far and away the best Pirate starter - leading the team in wins (11), ERA (4.44), WHIP (1.22), and strikeouts (157).
Jameson Taillon would have pushed Musgrove for this award until he became the first of two prominent Pittsburgh players to have season-ending elbow surgery this year.
Musgrove's only other competition for this award is currently in the Westmoreland County Prison after he...wait, no. I said we are focusing on the positive in this article.
This wasn't close.
Winner: Joe Musgrove
Runner Up: Vacant
Pirates Defensive Player of the Year
Major League Baseball does not have a Defensive Player of the Year award, but rather has the Gold Glove. The Gold Glove goes out positionally. So, it doesn't really fit with team awards because almost every player would get one. Our awards may be meaningless, but they aren't participation trophies!
The Pirates were bad in the field this year. A lot is said about how bad the pitching was, but the defense did the pitching staff no favors in the field. So, there aren't a lot of players to pick from.
A popular belief in Pittsburgh is that Starling Marte is an elite center-fielder, but the statistics don't really show that. The move to center allowed him to show off his speed in the gaps, and that has shown up in the stats. His defensive zone runs saved improved after moving to center, but his overall defensive runs save decreased. So, I could go the lazy route and give this to Marte, but I wouldn't feel good about that.
Adam Frazier had the best overall year in the field for the Pirates. His numbers straight across were solid. He was top-5 in the majors in fielding percentage and total zone runs saved for a second baseman. No other Pirate posted stats worthy of such consideration.
Winner: Adam Frazier
Runner Up: Starling Marte
Pirates Most Valuable Player
Take a second and imagine how this lineup would have looked for a full season without Josh Bell. That's what an MVP award is - a consideration of what a team would be like without that player. It wouldn't have been good for the Pirates without Bell. It wasn't good with him. But, without him? Whew...
The Pirates were tied for fifth in all of baseball in batting average, but struggled to get those baserunners home (21st in runs scored). Josh Bell was the only Pirate providing consistent power all season. He was fifth in the league in intentional walks, and that not just reflective of how nervous he made pitchers when he walked up to the plate, but also how no one else in the lineup had a similar impact.
Bell's .277/37/116 numbers are star-level, and could have been better with a more formidable bat protecting him. There is no question in my mind that Josh Bell was the most valuable Pirate this season.
Winner: Josh Bell
Runner Up: Bryan Reynolds
I thought about awarding a Manager of the Year and doing an ode to Clint Hurdle, but I already did that last week.
I did put an Owner of the Year award on the ballot, but the lone vote was a snarky remark that I don't feel comfortable publishing.
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Agree or disagree, we'd love to hear
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